‘A lot of work by a few people’ – Maidenhead United prepare for Football Focus cameras

York Road prepares for the BBC Football Focus cameras. Photo: Neil Maskell.
York Road prepares for the BBC Football Focus cameras. Photo: Neil Maskell.

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Organised chaos!

That would be the best way to describe preparations at York Road since Maidenhead United’s replay win at Wealdstone two weeks ago, writes Neil Maskell.

When the tie with Rotherham United was confirmed, the BBC’s Football Focus were quickly on the phone to Operations Director Mark Stewart and since then we have had technicians galore around the ground, setting up camera gantries and testing out our (rather limited!) logistics.

Whereas we usually have just the one gantry we now have not two but three positions set up for cameras.

York Road, home of Maidenhead United
York Road, home of Maidenhead United. Photo: Tom Canning.

Mark and his son Jason are busy in preparation and they will expect to have a long day on the Saturday. Groundsman Jason is also responsible for the catering, so he will have to have our pitch – which is looking the best it ever has, by the way – mown and marked by sundown on Friday as he will be serving breakfasts to those BBC technicians from 7:30am on the Saturday.

Bearing in mind he won’t stop cooking until our referees have enjoyed their post-match refreshment probably around 10 hours later it is fair to say that Jason will have to rely on the BBC’s extended highlights package of our game to catch up on what happens on the pitch.

An early start too for Director and Ground Trustee Steve Jinman who will be briefing messrs Walker, Dublin and Keown prior to going on air. Will he have enough time to condense nearly 150 years of history before the cameras roll?

Listen to Steve Jinman discuss the Devonshire years on the Berkshire Football Stories podcast:

There has been plenty of media interest as you’d expect; I’ve received requests from newspapers both local and national, with one tabloid dusting off all the Cup clichés by requesting that our players dress up as they would for their day-jobs for a photo shoot (I hope this was given short-shrift – Editor).

My role at the club involves looking after our 35 Juniors teams (quick plug for www.mufcjuniors.co.uk) and last week my day-to-day admin on the FA Whole Game System, minute-taking and bill-paying was interrupted by people knocking on the boardroom door asking to buy tickets.

‘All in all a lot of work being done by a small number of people’

Maidenhead United is a family club from top to bottom; Mrs Devonshire will be preparing to host hospitality and dignitaries in the suite named after her husband with my wife serving behind the bar!

All in all a lot of work being done by a small number of people to ensure that they day goes smoothly. Even the floodlights have had their annual health check this week! On the day I look forward to having Danish television no less breathing down my neck waiting eagerly for a typed team sheet.

Related: ‘It is my dream job’ – Grace Scott on being Maidenhead United media officer

Still, at least I won’t have to be up well before first light like poor old Jason! And the practice will do us good, just a fortnight later we will be hosting the nice people from BT Sport for their coverage of our York Road clash with Woking.

First things first though, the club and Football Focus are keen to have supporters with us from 11:30am to join in as live ‘studio’ audience for their broadcast. Which means our turnstile and gate staff – all volunteers of course – won’t get much of a lay in either!

Why not join us and be part of that Football Focus audience? Tickets start at usual National League prices and are still available at maidenheadunitedfc.ktckts.com

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